Origins – 2014
Virtual Jagdfliegergeschwader 1 “Fritz Schmenkel” (JG-1) was formed in October 2014 by members of the JG1 community who were interested in creating an organized squadron to fly the modern aircraft found within Eagle Dynamics’ Digital Combat Simulator World (DCS World).
The newly created virtual fighter wing was modeled after the historic East German unit of the same name. The historic JG-1 served the Air Forces of the National People’s Army (Luftstreitkräfte der Nationalen Volksarmee – LSK), from 25 September 1952 to 2 October 1990. It was honorarily titled “Fritz Schmenkel,” after a German communist and resistance fighter who fought with Soviet partisans in Belarus during the Second World War. At the time of its dissolution, the historic JG-1 was the oldest East German fighter unit.
Evolution – 2014 to 2018
At its founding, virtual JG-1 was composed of three squadrons: North American-based I.Jagdstaffel (I.JS), European-based II.Jagdstaffel (II.JS), and III.Jagdstaffel (III.JS), which contained active reserve pilots.
Always designed to be a REDFOR (non-NATO “Warsaw Pact”) fighter wing within DCS World, virtual JG-1’s establishment coincided with the release of the MiG-21bis module, by Leatherneck Simulations / Magnitude 3. JG-1’s first commanders, Klaiber and Britchot, always intended the MiG-21bis “Fishbed” to be the backbone of virtual JG-1’s online involvement. That said, great efforts had been made for virtual JG-1 pilots to learn and fly all “study sim” aircraft historically flown by the East German Air Force. These included but were not limited to, the MiG-15bis, the MiG-19P, the L-39 Albatros, and the Mi-8MTV2.
JG-1 also actively flew and competed in events using the Mirage 2000C, the JF-17 Thunder (affectionately nicknamed the “Jeff”), and the F-14 Tomcat. These are all aircraft that can be commonly found on REDFOR teams throughout the online community.
Expansion – 2018 to 2020
JG-1 competed in many online events over the next few years. Chief among these were: WINGS 2018, hosted by 51st PVO squadron in conjunction with Splash One Gaming, TOP GUN 2019, hosted by 51st PVO squadron in conjunction with The Art of Warfare (TAW) and 104th Phoenix, and RED ALERT and RED ALERT 2, hosted by the Cold War Server in conjunction with the 104th Phoenix. JG-1 also participated in OPERATION BLUE FLAG Round 10 (August 2018), REAL WAR – Operation Moonlight (December 2018), and multiple incarnations of the RED FLAG RUMBLE, hosted by 104th Phoenix.
During this time, JG-1 continued to grow, pulling in pilots from all over North America and Europe.
By January 2020, JG-1 restarted formal training sessions on basic fighter maneuvers (BFM) and air combat maneuvering (ACM). This was an experience that many of our newer recruits had not gone through and something that our more experienced pilots had not done since 2016. This new training protocol was called the Fighter Tactics Training Program (FTTP). It included tactical discussions, track reviews, as well as flight sessions. FTTP was effective in helping the Geschwader better incorporate combat theory and tactics into weekly practices.
The Hunters from Cottbus – 2020 to 2021
In February 2020, JG-1 joined a 12 versus 12 PVP tournament event hosted by X-man and the 64th “Scorpions” Aggressor Squadron, called Operation Meltdown. JG-1 was teamed up with The Art of Warfare (TAW) squadron to form “Team Purple.” Team Purple’s first match was on 29 February 2020 against “Team Teal,” composed of the 64th Aggressors and =RvE= squadron. After defeating Team Teal in a great match-up, JG-1 and TAW were then pitted against “Team Yellow,” composed of the No. 15 “Battle Axes” and 104th Phoenix squadrons. Team Yellow was coming off of a recent victory against Team Green (Viper squadron and IRIAF) and was considered the favorites to win the overall event. JG-1 and TAW’s match against Team Yellow was extremely close, with Team Yellow almost securing victory with a last-minute airfield strike. However, JG-1 and TAW were able to emerge victorious, winning the Operation Meltdown Finals on 2 May 2020.
By the beginning of 2021, JG-1 was looking for more dead-is-dead tournament/event opportunities. Through an introduction provided by Yogi, JG-1 began flying OPFOR (opposing force) for the Joint Task Force 1 (JTF-1), a modern-focused DCS squadron.
Additionally, during this time, JG-1 formed a relationship with the 14th Fighter Aviation Division (14.FAD), another REDFOR unit focused on the 1st and 2nd Generation jets of the Chinese Airforce. JG-1 had been introduced to the 14.FAD during our numerous RED FLAG RUMBLE matches, and quickly found many common interests with them. The 14.FAD were invited to be JG-1’s allies when flying against the JTF-1. However, due to divergent schedules, the goal of creating a full-scale match-up became elusive, and plans were unfortunately put on hold.
Fliegerhorst “Fritz Schmenkel” – 2021
In the Spring of 2021, JG 1 adopted a new training initiative. Suggested by Yogi, based on past training programs he used in his past virtual squadrons, the program was called the “Greenie Board,” after the U.S. Navy practice of creating a Ready Room chart to show successful arrested landings on the carrier deck. However, instead of tracking landings, JG-1’s Greenie Board would be used to identify what training areas pilots within the Geschwader needed to focus on for improvement. For Klaiber and Britchot, the Greenie Board was very similar to 2020’s Fighter Tactics Training Program (FTTP), and an attempt was made to use this to help JG-1 aid recruits and better organize practices.
By the Summer of 2021, JG-1 started focusing more on creating and maintaining an online presence within the DCS World online community. Klaiber, who had long been the primary mission maker for the squadron, began constructing larger and more elaborate battle maps with the hope that they would be used in online multiplayer events. One of these maps, based on the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, was tested by the full Geschwader on 31 July 2021. Despite serious teething problems, the underlying concepts seemed to have a lot of promise, and further attempts were made to create something solid and lasting for JG-1 to enjoy.
JG-1 also attempted to get further exposure by having a dedicated server online at all times. Britchot, Lipfert, and Kliegmann began hosting missions online, clearly displaying the JG-1 name. And by the end of the Summer, Snaggle had managed to secure a DCS server that was solid enough to host anything the Geschwader may need. Called JG-1’s Fliegerhorst “Fritz Schmenkel,” this server began running many of the maps created for the Geschwader.
The Road to Holzdorf – 2021 to present
In June 2021, Yogi, Vonrd, and Klaiber began a project to create East German skins for the primary aircraft the squadron was flying – the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19P Farmer, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21bis Fishbed, and the Dassault Mirage 2000C. The MiG-19P and the MiG-21bis were both flown by the Air Forces of the National People’s Army. However, the Mirage 2000C was the oddball. However, rather than be historical, the attempt was to give JG-1 something that could be easily distribute to other squadrons when participating in tournaments or events.
Additionally, with the DCS World release of the Mil Mi-24P Hind, a large number of JG-1 started focusing on learning and flying the helicopters found within the sim. There was even talk about converting III.JS into a dedicated helicopter Staffel. However, while seriously considered, III.JS was instead changed on 1 July 2021 to a training squadron. The idea was to assist the Geschwader’s organization, with a clear eye on recruiting new pilots to fill in the rosters.